Archive for the ‘Scottish Government’ Category

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See article from heraldscotland.com

No Fun: The Scottish Government logoSome members of the public will be given a greater say on whether table-dancing clubs are given licences under new plans unveiled by the Scottish Government.

Ministers will consult on proposals to establishnew licensing restrictions for sexual entertainment venues. The Government said the consultation also seeks specific views on whether licensing authorities should be able to totally ban such venues.

The Government is launching the consultation after similar plans were rejected in the last Parliament.

The move has the support of MSPs and gender extremists. The Women’s Support Project in Glasgow said:

This move recognises that what is for sale on premises is sexual arousal and such premises should have their own specific license and no longer fall in the same category as leisure or entertainment venues.

This move also provides better consistency with the overall approach in Scotland which sees lap dancing as a form of exploitation and helps support a culture in which women are viewed in narrow and objectifying ways.

‘Justice’ Secretary Kenny MacAskill claimed:

This consultation seeks views on proposals that will give licensing authorities the powers to reflect local views and control the presence and operation of such venues in their areas.

These venues undoubtedly divide opinion. However, the proposed licensing regime is about ensuring the safety and protection of customers and workers while making sure the interests of local communities are protected.

The newspaper chose not to include opinions from the venues, employees or customers.

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See article from heraldscotland.com

scottish police federation logoPolice are continuing to voice concerns about new laws targeted at offensive behaviour and religious hatred in and around football grounds.

They warn that there is still confusion around areas such as the definition of sectarianism.

As the contentious Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 comes into force today, the organisation representing rank and file police officers — the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) — said earlier misgivings had not changed.

Brian Docherty, the newly installed chairman of the SPF, said doubts remained, particularly around the definition of sectarianism. He said:

Reservations are still there. But the law has passed and we now have to run with it regardless of concerns over impact on resources.

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See article from heraldscotland.com

scottish beer and pub association logoPubs across Scotland could close unless the Government spells out to landlords what constitutes an offence under new laws designed to tackle football-related bigotry, trade lobbyists have warned. inShare2 Custom byline text: GERRY BRAIDEN

With arrest rates for sectarian behaviour expected to accelerate after the Offensive Behaviour Act receives Royal Assent, the country’s largest licensed trade group fears hundreds of bar and pub owners could become collateral damage.

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) has joined a long list of other parties asking for clarification on matters such as what songs and slogans are in and out and has asked for ministers and the police to provide real-life scenarios of situations which could unfold in licensed premises.

The Government has said the police’s football co-ordination unit was already setting up meetings with licensing authorities to discuss the implementation of the legislation.

In his letter to Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham, SBPA chief executive Patrick Browne said that as long as it was unclear how the laws would impact on the trade there was a high risk a licensed premise could find itself being reported to the local licensing board which could then sanction their premises licence, with implications for the business.

He added: Given the new and very specific nature of the offences under the new Act relating to licensed premises, it would be helpful for my members and licensees more generally to have further guidance from the Government as to which types of behaviour on their premises would be unacceptable under the terms of legislation. This would assist them in fulfilling the expectations of licensing boards and the police more generally.

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See article from scotsman.com

The Scottish ParliamentScottish football fans could soon be arrested for singing what the authorities deem offensive or sectarian songs at football game. The repressive new legislation has led to suggestions that fans could face prosecution for singing the national anthem or crossing themselves.

The SNP government has been accused of using its substantial majority to steamroller through the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Scotland Bill, despite widespread concerns from opposition parties and bodies outside Holyrood. But the measures are backed by the police and prosecution chiefs.

Ministers rejected a series of opposition amendments aimed at refining the laws and the bill is now expected to complete its third stage reading by parliament in mid-December. It should become law by mid-January.

Patrick Harvie, the leader of the Green Party, claimed the SNP has forced the measures through parliament, ignoring a growing chorus of objections. This prompted him to claim that the measures had been steamrollered through parliament. Ministers are stubbornly determined to force it through in the teeth of consistent and reasoned opposition from all quarters, inside and outside parliament, he said.

The freedom of expression clause was agreed though which covers communications, such as messages sent over the internet, which may contain insults or abuse of religious beliefs. But it does not cover online messages which are threatening or likely to cause public disorder. Neither does it apply to sectarian or threatening behaviour at and around football matches. Another change made by the committee widens part of the bill to include people not necessarily travelling to a football match.

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See interview from atvtoday.co.uk

scottish government logoFiona Hyslop the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs at the Scottish Parliament was interviewed on ATV Today about broadcasting in the country.

ATV Today: What powers does the Scottish Government have over media organisations that are based and / or broadcast in Scotland?

Fiona Hyslop: Powers over Broadcasting are almost entirely reserved to the UK Parliament and Government. The Scottish Government is seeking greater influence over broadcasting policy and has made a submission to the UK Government in an attempt to have this recognised in the Scotland Bill.

ATV Today: Would you ever consider trying to implement a regulatory body to control the media and get rid of the existing governance from OFCOM and the PCC?

Fiona Hyslop: There is significant difference between regulation and ‘control’. We would ensure that appropriate regulation is in place for the media sector in an independent Scotland, as it is in other European nations such as Ireland, Finland and Denmark.

…Read the full interview

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Based on article from heraldscotland.com

fans against criminalisation logoHundreds of football fans turned out in Glasgow on Saturday to protest against proposals for a new anti-sectarianism bill. More than 700 people cheered as key speakers from Fans Against Criminalisation called for the bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament, to be scrapped.

Banners with slogans including kill the bill were waved at the mass gathering in the city’s George Square. Organisers of the event said they were delighted with the support, which they say reflected the strength of feeling on the issue.

Jeanette Findlay, of Fans Against Criminalisation, said:

We want this dangerous piece of legislation stopped in its tracks. If they want to tackle sectarianism, use the existing powers… It is not a proper piece of legislation and is unnecessary and unworkable.

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See article from heraldscotland.com

philip tartagliaPressure is mounting on the Scottish Government over its plans for anti-sectarian speech laws after an unprecedented attack on Alex Salmond by the Catholic Church.

It comes as the First Minister prepares to meet with Bishop Philip Tartaglia at the First Minister’s official residence, Bute House, in Edinburgh.

As The Herald revealed yesterday, the bishop, who many expect to be Scotland’s next cardinal, warned of a serious chill between the Catholic community and SNP Government. He also accused Salmond of reneging on a promise to make public statistics on convictions for sectarian offences.

On other fronts, Labour’s justice spokesman, James Kelly, has wrotten to Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, casting doubt on whether the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill is compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Kelly, speaking ahead of publication tomorrow of findings from the second stage of the Bill, claimed the demand was made in light of concerns from the Scottish Human Rights Commission and said the legislation was too broad and risked spawning rafts of costly court cases and compensation claims. He said:

There are serious questions as to whether the Bill complies with the European Convention on Human Rights. My fear is the legislation is drafted too broadly, which may lead to a situation where fans do not even realise their behaviour is breaking the law.

We must have complete confidence any legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament is absolutely watertight to avoid our laws potentially being subject to costly court cases and compensations claims down the line.

A Tory spokesman said:

All right-minded people want to eradicate the evils of sectarianism, but the best way of doing this is with clear, robust and vigorous legislation. We must guard against ‘something must be done syndrome’ producing bad law.